With roots firmly planted in Hickspolitation soil, Rocky Mountain Fast Guy is as refreshing as a pickup’s flatbed full of Buds on a sweltering Saturday night. It’s a road-trip flick that could have easily double-billed with a Hal Needham-Burt Reynolds collaboration of the late 70s/early 80s.
Guy is played by multi-hyphenate John McElroy, who not only plays the lead, but co-directed and co-wrote the script, as well as composed and performed most of the songs on the soundtrack. He quickly ingratiates himself as the lumbering, loveable lunkhead Guy, who resembles a redneck cousin of Chris Pratt. Guy is in a bit of a mud-soaked rut. He lives in a ramshackle ranch with his mama, owes a lot of people a lot of money, but dreams of driving to Nashville with his guitar in tow and landing a music career. On a drive from his family home, Guy spies a bag of cash from a recent botched robbery. He’s quite literally at an intersection as defined as those on one of his many flannel shirts.
In the act of desperation, Guy snags the bag and sets at on a rather impressive, expansive road trip. From jail to Mexico, to strip clubs to greasy roadside spoons, Guy’s horizon is dotted with an array of colorful characters who help shape his destiny.
“Guy spies a bag of cash from a recent botched robbery.”
As stated, it’s McElroy who anchors this film with his good-natured, dice-tossing ramblin’ man routine. Still, Rocky Mountain’s cast all deserve credit for their contributions, even in the smallest of roles (Mark Troy as a Johnny Cash “tribute artist” and Felipe Fernandez as a drug kingpin come to mind). The transitions between each set-piece are exceptionally sharp, suggesting much care went into the editing of Guy’s various travails.
It’s also accentuated with a boot-scootin’ soundtrack with quite a few memorable country twangers and a score that twangs under the action with a slide guitar reminiscent of Ry Cooder’s contributions to films in the mid-80s.
As solid a film as it is, it’s two-hour run time could have easily been trimmed (even though the music was stellar, there were a few numbers that could have been sacrificed to tighten things up). And because it’s so polished throughout, I had hoped the film wouldn’t stoop to some of the easier gags at times. For example, when Guy eludes his pursuers from a restaurant called Big Dicks, he changes into a T-shirt promoting the establishment (“I Love Big Dicks”) and is picked up by two textbook definition of gay stereotypes. In fact, stereotypes abound in Guy’s winding journey, which manages to pump the breaks as the story accelerates, and it’s momentarily frustrating in a film that otherwise feels so inspired. Fortunately, these moments are minor potholes, and the story manages to keep things its eyes on the road for the better part of its runtime, so just as they are introduced, they exit the frame just as quickly.
And considering this is McElroy’s debut, it’s easy to forgive whatever minor flaws fill this otherwise rollicking road-trip romp through the gravelly paths one takes to accomplish his dreams. It’s quite evident throughout the amount of blood, sweat, and beers that went into Rocky Mountain Fast Guy. Jerry Reed would have approved.
"…it’s quite evident throughout the amount of blood, sweat, and beers that went into Rocky Mountain Fast Guy."